Foreign Policy Blogs

Energy & Environment

Norwegian Company Starts Thorium Reactor Test

Norwegian Company Starts Thorium Reactor Test

Ever since the nuclear power industry was born, its proponents have tried to find safer ways of using nuclear fission to generate electricity. And there is no doubt that the reactors built today are safer than those erected in the 1950s. However, the main problem with nuclear power as it ...

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Can a Solar Tariff Spark a Trade War?

Can a Solar Tariff Spark a Trade War?

  The struggle for positioning in the solar energy marketplace took another turn. On June 4 Karel de Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade, announced a new 11.8 percent tariff to be applied to imported Chinese made solar panels, and photovoltaic cells and polysilicon wafers, two system components. To avoid an additional ...

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Will Ghana Overcome its New Energy Challenge?

Will Ghana Overcome its New Energy Challenge?

Ghana has been forced to cope with increased energy shortages as a result of damages to the West African Gas Pipeline, dating back to Aug. 28, 2012. The $1 billion, 650 kilometer long pipeline, built to carry gas from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana, was severely damaged during an ...

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Will there be SDGs to transition to from the MDGs?

Will there be SDGs to transition to from the MDGs?

April 5 symbolized a significant date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), as it marked 1,000 days remaining to Dec. 31, 2015, the agreed upon date to reach its targets. The MDGs encompass eight targets that span the spectrum of human development from eradicating poverty to promoting sustainable development, health, ...

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EPA Slams State over XL Pipeline

EPA Slams State over XL Pipeline

In addition to being Earth Day, yesterday was the end of the State Department’s 45-day comment period on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project. Among the 800,000 comments is a letter to State from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is not particularly happy with the analysis ...

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U.K. Energy Shortage: A Cautionary Tale

U.K. Energy Shortage: A Cautionary Tale

Britain is suffering its worst winter in 50 years. Everyone is grumbling about their fuel bills and wondering what has happened to spring. Soccer and rugby matches and horse-racing fixtures have been canceled. The government has warned that if the weather persists like this for another couple of weeks, rationing ...

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Coal Continues to Fuel Poland’s Growth

Coal Continues to Fuel Poland’s Growth

  From the time that Poland was selected as the host country for the next round of the United Nations climate change negotiations this upcoming November, there have been many skeptics. Poland is one of the nations most reliant on coal, the most carbon intensive of the fossil fuels, for its ...

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State Department Says XL Pipeline Won’t Affect Oil Sands Development

State Department Says XL Pipeline Won’t Affect Oil Sands Development

The Department of State has released a 2000-page draft Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement regarding the XL Keystone Pipeline. In the words of the executive summary, the report “concludes that approval or denial of the proposed Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the ...

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EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement – Why the American Push Forward Now?

EU-U.S. Free Trade Agreement – Why the American Push Forward Now?

  Not too long ago President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address in February the start of free trade negotiations with the European Union (EU). These negotiations are expected to take at least two years while any ...

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Estonia Taking Charge With Its New EV Network

Estonia Taking Charge With Its New EV Network

  Estonia, which joined the EU in 2004 and the Eurozone in 2011, officially unveiled its nation-wide electric vehicle (EV) network last week. The ex-Soviet republic designed its pioneering new fast-charging, web-connected network to eliminate “range anxiety,” improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. The network’s current infrastructure includes 151 fast-charging stations ...

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American Energy Independence Might Not Change Things Much

American Energy Independence Might Not Change Things Much

Thanks to fracking and the oil rush in North Dakota, many analysts predict energy independence for North America, and even for the U.S. itself. The most recent high-profile prediction came from Citigroup’ s global commodities research team, headed by Edward Morse. They issued an 85-page report, which sadly is not ...

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Inching Towards Real North American Energy Security

Inching Towards Real North American Energy Security

In 2011, President Obama instructed the U.S. State Department to try to find a new route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline citing environmental concerns. The concerns were especially related to a potential contamination of the Ogallala aquifer. This is an important groundwater source and therefore it makes sense to bypass ...

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France Extends a New Lifeline to Its Solar Industry

France Extends a New Lifeline to Its Solar Industry

  As France’s solar industry has not flourishing as planned, French President Francois Hollande and his administration recently extended a new lifeline to France’s struggling solar energy industry. France doubled the nation’s solar production capacity target for 2013 to 1 gigawatt (GW)—roughly equivalent to 1 nuclear reactor—from the previous 500 megawatt  (MW) target. ...

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Iran Admits Sanctions Hurt Revenue

Iran Admits Sanctions Hurt Revenue

Iran’s revenue from oil exports is off by 40% thanks to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU over the Iranian nuclear program.  Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told the budget commission of the Iranian parliament, “There has been a 40 percent decrease in oil sales and a 45 percent ...

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A More Inclusive Global Energy Paradigm

A More Inclusive Global Energy Paradigm

As part of the European Union’s support for the U.N.’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, E.U. Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announced with visiting Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita that the E.U. would provide funding for a combined renewable energy and water desalinization plant. The plant, to be built near Djibouti ...

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